Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Friday issued a statement condemning the Centre for not considering the states’ opposition of the Dam Safety Bill which was passed a day ago. Calling the Bill detrimental to federal principles and powers of the state governments, Stalin, also the DMK chief, said the move was nothing but authoritarianism by usurping the rights of the state governments with no regard for democratic-parliamentary ethos or the Constitution of India.
DMK’s stand against the Dam Safety Bill is backed by all major parties of Tamil Nadu, including NDA ally AIADMK. They have also supported the motion moved by the DMK to send the Bill to the select committee. Stalin’s statement said that the Centre passed the Bill despite such united opposition from Tamil parties.
He said the Centre’s move will have a negative impact on the relationship between the Centre and state governments.
While DMK MP Tiruchi Siva had moved a motion on Thursday to refer the Bill to the select committee, arguing that the Bill takes away the rights of the states, his party colleague and fellow MP T K S Elangovan argued that states were the owners of dams and that the Bill violates Article 252 of the Constitution.
For a long time, Tamil parties and the state government had been opposing the Bill on several grounds, alleging that the Bill contains clauses which violate the rights of the state, especially with respect to the dams constructed by it in the neighbouring state, and would cause various problems in their maintenance and operation.
Challenging the claims that the Bill aimed to address all issues concerning dam safety, including regular inspection of dams, emergency action plan, comprehensive dam safety review, adequate repair and maintenance funds for dam safety and the instrumentation and safety manuals, a unanimous resolution passed in the Tamil Nadu assembly in June 2018 said the Centre should not pass the Bill without consulting states, and without arriving at a consensus.
Besides DMK, party allies including VCK, CPI and the AMMK leader T T V Dhinakaran also condemned the move and accused the Centre for its majoritarian approach ignoring the views and interests of states.
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